Missing by planet p

Disclaimer I don't own Harry Potter or any of its characters.

Chapter Sixteen

Bella hadn't played the oboe for a long, long time, but she decided to give it a try then. If she got good again, maybe it would cheer Narcissa up.

Not that she would admit it, but she even sort of liked some of the stuff Peter had written.

She hadn't meant to start to like him a little bit, she hadn't meant to like anyone like that, it just sort of happened.

Of course, she never let on to anyone.

Severus just kept thinking how Narcissa had come to him that night and asked him to look out for Lucius for her, and then, how she'd told him that she knew that Lucius was mixed up in darkness, but that she cared for him and she couldn't bear to see harm befall him.

That was how he'd been with Liam, in the end, he supposed. If he'd only just done what she'd asked and petrified her, he might have been able to secret her away, out of the castle. He might have been able to help her.

But he couldn't think that way, he supposed. He would do as Narcissa wanted, as his old friend wanted; he would look out for Lucius.

There wasn't much else for him to do. He'd never be able to think about Healing again knowing how he'd failed Liam. He should have known. He knew he should have known.

A real Healer would have known!

She knew Peter would never have told, he wasn't the sort to boast, and she knew that she hadn't let on, she'd not been acting out of sorts in any way, but Lucius had been following her, and she'd been stupid to believe that just because he was marrying her little sister, that he gave a damn about his new family.

He saw her as competition for Cissa's affections, so he'd had to go after her; had to try, in any way possible, to ruin her.

She'd never loved anything the way she'd loved that baby, but Lucius had taken care of it with one wave of his wand. The immense pain had stopped her from retaliating, from anything, really, and she'd just lay there.

She wished she could have refuted him, but she'd still be in shock; she'd been so taken unawares by his accusation. (She knew, then, that it was her fault as much as his. She should have told him he was lying; she should have hexed him into next year; she should have done something. She should have saved her unborn baby!)

But what was worse even than her baby, was what they did to Peter. It wasn't just that they made him forget her – she'd not even told him about the baby yet, she'd been saving it for a special moment – but they'd damaged him, changed him; he wasn't her Peter after that. He was someone else's Peter.

He'd never be her Peter again.

It was much later, many years later, in fact, that Severus met Lily again and they really talked. She'd married by that point – James Potter, of all people – and was working in St. Mungo's.

She told him that he was too good of a Healer to give up on it, but he only walked away. How could he listen to her when he saw her again, as she was that night, wand still outstretched in her hand.

But, the thing of it was, she'd saved his life. She'd saved his life, and, together, they'd ruined Liam's life. They couldn't know what had become of Liam after that, but they both knew that it'd been nothing good. They were in it together, accomplices.

He could not think of his own dreams after having a hand in such a thing, in the destruction of someone else's happiness.

He could only see her face, over and over again, and the wild, untameable look in her eyes. It wasn't because she'd just killed someone, but it was because she'd condemned them. Perhaps, in a way, that was worse.

So he walked away.

As much as every step he took killed him again.

For his part, Lucius believed that he was doing right. Severus longed to kill him, to spare him, for Narcissa's sake, but she'd never understand that he was helping him. But Lucius was his friend, too.

But, no, he would never do that. He wasn't brave enough for that. He'd never openly declared himself a betrayer by doing so. As much as the next person, he still had to live.

He had to find Liam, and save her.

Alone in a tall, upright tank filled with green liquid, with only a stream of bubbles to cast movement within the liquid, a blackened body floated, its eyes completely grey.

Those eyes saw everything, and nothing.

There was nothing to see in that part of the Department of Mysteries.


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